Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) traffic figures for May 2020 show that the freighter movements continued to surge, seeing a 29.3 percent year-on-year increase. Cargo throughput dropped 6.8 percent to 377,000 tonnes compared to the same month last year. These figures were announced by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA).

The Covid-19 pandemic continued to impact passenger volume and flight movements, which saw year-on-year decreases of 99.4 percent and 68.7 percent to 35,000 passengers and 11,355 flight movements, respectively.

Cargo exports experienced an 11 percent year-on-year increase in May, with North America showing the strongest growth. The overall decline in cargo throughput was mainly attributed to the decrease in transshipments and imports due to the reduced belly capacity of passenger flights. Traffic to and from key trading regions in Southeast Asia and India experienced the most significant drops.

Meanwhile, HKIA has been ranked the world’s busiest cargo airport for the 10th consecutive year in 2019, according to Airports Council International.

Cissy Chan, executive director, commercial of the AA, said, “It’s a great accomplishment that HKIA has been the world’s leading air cargo hub for the past decade, which we attribute to the airport’s extensive connectivity, high operational standards and successful cooperation with business partners. The ranking also recognises the concerted effort of the air cargo community and its business partners, to whom I would like to express my sincerest gratitude.”

“Despite the challenging business environment, the AA is committed to the long-term development of Hong Kong’s air cargo segment. HKIA remains confident in the fundamentals and long-term prospects of air cargo, and the airport is well placed to serve market demand as soon as traffic returns to normal,” Chan added.

As regards passenger traffic, due to the continuation of the entry restrictions for non-Hong Kong residents and the suspension of transfer/ transit services in May, visitors and transfer/ transit traffic decreased almost 100 freighter movements. Hong Kong resident travel decreased 99 freighter movements. The operation of the transit/transfer services at HKIA has been smooth since its gradual resumption from 1 June.

Over the first five months of the year, HKIA handled 8.2 million passengers and 84,180 flight movements, representing year-on-year decreases of 73.8 percent and 52.6 freighter movements, respectively, while cargo throughput recorded 1.7 million tonnes, a drop of 10.7 freighter movements compared to the same period last year.

On a 12-month rolling basis, passenger volume and flight movements fell by 36.0 freighter movements and 24.0 freighter movements to 48.3 million and 326,275, respectively. Cargo throughput recorded 4.6 million tonnes, representing a decrease of 7.7 percent year on year.